A trace is an imprint or mark that attests to the former existence of creatures, whether human or animal, and things. Because traces are survivals from another time, they sometimes need to be reinterpreted in order to be correctly understood. The vestiges of the past serve as reference points in the construction of individual and group memory. Whether in the social sciences or the arts, issues related to the concept of the trace speak to the process through which the past is (re)presented and decoded. By exploring the realm of memory, artists inquire into our relationship with the past and the ways in which we gain access to it by using what remains of it. In the process, we catch a glimpse of the extent to which it continues to act upon our own time.
A trace is an imprint or mark that attests to the former existence of creatures, whether human or animal, and things. Because traces are survivals from another time, they sometimes need to be reinterpreted in order to be correctly understood. The vestiges of the past serve as reference points in the construction of individual and group memory. Whether in the social sciences or the arts, issues related to the concept of the trace speak to the process through which the past is (re)presented and decoded. By exploring the realm of memory, artists inquire into our relationship with the past and the ways in which we gain access to it by using what remains of it. In the process, we catch a glimpse of the extent to which it continues to act upon our own time.

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

acrylic on canvas

426 small canvases, 25.4 x 20.3 cm each

Artist: Monique Régimbald-Zeiber, Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay
Collection of Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec [2004.583], anonymous gift.
2002 - 2003
© Monique Régimbald-Zeiber


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Les dessous de l’Histoire : Marguerite B., les écrits [History's Hidden Side: The Writings of Marguerite B.] is made up of 426 small canvases on which the artist transcribed, over a two-year period, what remains of the autobiographical writings of Marguerite Bourgeoys. Keeping as close as possible to the text, she has imitated the actions of the many copyists among the nuns who passed it down to future generations, despite the loss of the original manuscript. Through her painting, the artist revisits the life journey of one of the few women who are remembered in the history of New France. The writings of Marguerite Bourgeoys show her to be the first businesswoman in the colony, what with her trips back and forth between it and the metropolis, her fundraising campaigns, her recruitment of young women, and her incredible tenacity. Writing serves as a representation of the past, so to speak, reconstructing through its system of notation one of the many possible versions of history. In the social sciences, written documentation is often taken as irrefutable proof, making the past accessible to us through its legibility. What remains of past generations resides in its fragmentary writings. And in the case of Régimbald-Zeiber, this writing comes to us somewhat modified and concealed by so many bits of fabric, skins, cuttings, veils and rags.


© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

Les dessous de l’Histoire : Marguerite B., les écrits 2002-2003

Artist: Monique Régimbald-Zeiber, Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay
Collection of Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec [2004.583], anonymous gift.
2002 - 2003
© Monique Régimbald-Zeiber


An American author, I’m no longer sure who, Faulkner perhaps, is supposed to have said: “The only thing we owe history is to rewrite it.” And yet, isn’t there also that other oh-so-familiar saying: “You don’t rewrite history”?

I have turned to painting for a rereading of the history of Québec women, starting with that of the women of New France. Rereading is already rewriting, to a certain extent. I began with the Filles du roi. Their history, a harsh one I believe, represents one of the murkiest, and consequently one of the most fascinating, periods in official history. We all know that. But we are still left with all those names that we never learn.

My curiosity was also sparked by footnotes. They led me to delve into Marguerite Bourgeoys’s own writings. I wasn’t so familiar with them. I found them enthralling. So much that I ended up copying them out.
An American author, I’m no longer sure who, Faulkner perhaps, is supposed to have said: “The only thing we owe history is to rewrite it.” And yet, isn’t there also that other oh-so-familiar saying: “You don’t rewrite history”?

I have turned to painting for a rereading of the history of Québec women, starting with that of the women of New France. Rereading is already rewriting, to a certain extent. I began with the Filles du roi. Their history, a harsh one I believe, represents one of the murkiest, and consequently one of the most fascinating, periods in official history. We all know that. But we are still left with all those names that we never learn.

My curiosity was also sparked by footnotes. They led me to delve into Marguerite Bourgeoys’s own writings. I wasn’t so familiar with them. I found them enthralling. So much that I ended up copying them out.

© Monique Régimbald-Zeiber

Monique Régimbald-Zeiber lives and works in Montréal. She holds a doctorate in literature (her thesis dealt with the practices of the Russian avant-garde). Since 1992, she has taught at the school of visual and media arts of the Université du Québec à Montréal. She is also a painter and has developed, over the past two decades, an approach that explores the ways in which history and the gaze have been constructed in and through painting. She has works in a variety of collections and has shown in Québec and elsewhere in Canada, as well as in Europe.

selected exhibitions
2007 De l’écriture, Musée d’art contemporain, Montréal (Québec) 2007 L’autre au portrait, Galerie B-312, Montréal (Québec) 2005 Le touché de la peinture, Galerie de l’Université libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles (Belgium) and Galerie de l’UQAM, Montréal (Québec) [Louise Déry, curator] 2004 « Nous venons en paix… » : Histoires des Amériques, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal (Québec) [Pierre Landry, curat Read More
Monique Régimbald-Zeiber lives and works in Montréal. She holds a doctorate in literature (her thesis dealt with the practices of the Russian avant-garde). Since 1992, she has taught at the school of visual and media arts of the Université du Québec à Montréal. She is also a painter and has developed, over the past two decades, an approach that explores the ways in which history and the gaze have been constructed in and through painting. She has works in a variety of collections and has shown in Québec and elsewhere in Canada, as well as in Europe.

selected exhibitions
  • 2007 De l’écriture, Musée d’art contemporain, Montréal (Québec)
  • 2007 L’autre au portrait, Galerie B-312, Montréal (Québec)
  • 2005 Le touché de la peinture, Galerie de l’Université libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles (Belgium) and Galerie de l’UQAM, Montréal (Québec) [Louise Déry, curator]
  • 2004 « Nous venons en paix… » : Histoires des Amériques, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal (Québec) [Pierre Landry, curator]
  • 2003 Et toutes elles réinventent le monde..., Le 19, Centre régional d’art contemporain de Montbéliard, Montbéliard (France)

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

Marguerite Bourgeoys (1620-1700)

A key figure in Canadian history, Marguerite Bourgeoys was born in the French city of Troyes on April 17, 1620, and first arrived in Montréal in November 1653. She subsequently made three trips to France to recruit young women for the colony and her religious order. Her accomplishments include the founding of the Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours chapel, the setting up of Montréal's first school and the foundation of the Congregation of Notre Dame, an international religious order that was one of the first to exempt its members from the requirement to live cloistered lives. Marguerite Bourgeoys was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982.
Marguerite Bourgeoys (1620-1700)

A key figure in Canadian history, Marguerite Bourgeoys was born in the French city of Troyes on April 17, 1620, and first arrived in Montréal in November 1653. She subsequently made three trips to France to recruit young women for the colony and her religious order. Her accomplishments include the founding of the Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours chapel, the setting up of Montréal's first school and the foundation of the Congregation of Notre Dame, an international religious order that was one of the first to exempt its members from the requirement to live cloistered lives. Marguerite Bourgeoys was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982.

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • demonstrate an understanding of how science and art can be linked;
  • try to explain the state of mind of the artist when she made this art piece.

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